My interpretation of old woodworking mallet

  • Advertise with us
Project by Jerry posted 10-08-2009 04:35 AM 12130 views 17 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had purchased an old maple mallet from an antique/junk store for a few dollars and found myself wanting to recreate the “Feel” of this great old mallet in my own materials. I had some old scraps of mahogany, purpleheart, and some Bolivian cherry laying around. I found the relatively thin round handle on the old original worked very well and balanced perfectly. I “Split” the head on my bandsaw, and epoxied the tapered handle into the head. You can barely see the joint and they both are used in my shop now without any delamination. The small headed one has some brass round stock inside the head for heft, the big one is weighted by the head alone. Everyone who holds them comments on the great “Feel”, its all in the little skinny handles! The little marking knife was something I threw together , I used a Stanley “Replacement” blade I found on the hardware shelf for the blade. Works great. The little “Groz” layout knife from Woodcraft is the one I always reach for. I have also found a medical scalpel to be an indispensable tool for small fine work.

“With a little pump of West Epoxy I can fix anything”

-- "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should be a Store, Not a Govt. Agency"

13 comments so far

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 4200 days

#1 posted 10-08-2009 04:55 AM

I really like how you did the head on the mallets. Very useful tools. Great job and welcome LJ’s.

-- John @

View woodworm's profile


14477 posts in 4506 days

#2 posted 10-08-2009 05:06 AM

Nicely done, a different way of m&t joinery technique.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View douginaz's profile


220 posts in 4917 days

#3 posted 10-08-2009 03:31 PM

Ya gotta love the dovetails in the heads, nice job.

-- If you need craft books - please visit our small business at

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2659 posts in 4442 days

#4 posted 10-08-2009 03:42 PM

A very nice looking set of whackers! Good job!

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View ChesapeakeBob's profile


369 posts in 4398 days

#5 posted 10-08-2009 04:29 PM

Nice work! Good looking tools!

-- Chesapeake Bob, Southern Maryland

View a1Jim's profile


118144 posts in 4492 days

#6 posted 10-08-2009 04:35 PM

View Jerry's profile


80 posts in 4068 days

#7 posted 10-08-2009 04:52 PM

Thanks for the comments guys, after looking at all of your projects I am flattered that you all gave me a positive critique for my efforts.

I am a relatively new woodworker and am trying to master the hand tools, chisels, planes, scrapers, dovetail saw, crosscut saw and bit & brace before I invest too much into the power tools.

I have accumulated a collection of old Stanley planes from a #8 down to a #3 , low angle block planes and scrub, all with Hock blades and frogs. What a nice experience not to swallow sawdust every time you want to make a few shavings…and, you can actually hear the radio when working!

-- "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should be a Store, Not a Govt. Agency"

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 4202 days

#8 posted 10-08-2009 06:30 PM

Nice looking tools. Keep up the good work

And welcome to lumberjocks.


View TedM's profile


2002 posts in 4648 days

#9 posted 10-09-2009 04:22 PM

Very nice!

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit and sign up for my project updates!

View Jerry's profile


80 posts in 4068 days

#10 posted 10-10-2009 12:57 AM


I thought I would add a picture of how I assembled the mallet. It certainly simplifies the construction process and you dont have to worry about chiseling out a tapered mortise. This method also lends itself to adding some brass round stock or lead to the interior of the mallet head if you feel that it needs a little more weight. Another idea I had was putting a handful of loose BB’s in a piece of copper pipe and making it a “Dead Blow” variety.

Here are some construction details on assembling the mallet

Mallet Construction Details

To finish these two off I sanded the tops of the mallet heads flush with the handle and inlaid a butterfly to “Detail” the head. It simply looks much better than the top of the handle showing through and has the added benefit of “Locking” the pieces together even more firmly. I dont like to use “Butterflys” for mere decoration, I have found that they are a great “Locking” mechanism for joints, especially if you taper the recess and butterfly at an angle that “Pulls” the pieces together as the inlay is pounded in. I typically make the inlays at least 1/4” deep for the best effect and on thick stuff have made them up to and over one inch in size. Just a note here, be careful with the grain orientation of the inlay so it does not split on you. I have literally pulled end grain inlays apart when “Pulling” large pieces together using this method. You experienced guys know this but if I had read this before…well, lets just say I learned this one on my own :)

I used “West Epoxy” to glue mine up, the “G-Flex” epoxy line they sell is one of the few adhesives that will reliably glue white oak, ipe, and other “Greasy” species of wood. The “G-Flex” epoxy will even repair the cross linked polyethylene and other plastics that heretofore have been almost impossible to join using “Traditional” methods of epoxy application. I am very impressed with this adhesive. They sell little $20.00 sets of it at most marine stores. If it saves your skin once its paid for itself.

GFlex Epoxy

-- "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should be a Store, Not a Govt. Agency"

View JerrySats's profile


237 posts in 4526 days

#11 posted 10-13-2009 03:16 AM

Great looking mallets , I like the way you put them together . Where do you get the West Expoxy’s at ?

View Jerry's profile


80 posts in 4068 days

#12 posted 10-13-2009 05:38 AM

Hi JerryS,

We have a couple of “West Marine” stores along the shoreline in Connecticut. I try to catch it on sale, its so versatile for the hobbyist I cant imagine being without it. The “G-Flex” has revolutionized the adhesive world nearly as much as CA did when “Superglue” hit the market. With various “Filler” materials, colorants , Kevlar, carbon fibers, numerous fiberglass cloth weaves there is basically nothing beyond the home workshop user given mastery of a few basic techniques, vacuum bagging, mold making, etc. the possibilities are virtually endless. For example, there were no synthetic or fiberglass stocks available for my Marlin 1895 Guide Gun so I used the original wood stock to create a “Mold” in which I laid up a “One-Off” stock shown here;

1895GG Stock

As much as I love “Traditional” woodworking tools and techniques, the use of “Modern” materials and synthetic materials makes so many things possible. I am in the planning stages now of a fastener free, solid Ipe cabinetmakers benchtop using a combination of West System epoxy and Japanese joinery.

-- "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should be a Store, Not a Govt. Agency"

View JerrySats's profile


237 posts in 4526 days

#13 posted 10-14-2009 12:38 AM

Just to update I was checking today in the new Lee Valley tool catalog and they carry the West Epoxy line .

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics